Raja Ampat is a group of islands on the western tip of Papua in Indonesia, famous for its diving experience. Most of the world’s coral reefs biodiversity and rare species of marine life can easily be found in an archipelago about the size of Switzerland. While there are 612 islands, there are four major islands (“Raja Ampat” means “Four Kings”) that have a population center: Waigeo, Misool (which is home to ancient rock paintings), Salawati, and Batanta.
Its location in Papua, one of the furthest places you can get to in Indonesia, may give you a head shake. But it’s a diver’s mecca that relatively advanced divers should not miss. The location of the islands, most of which are remote from the nearest towns, makes the reef pure and seemingly untouched. The wide area of pristine blue water contains millions of reefs and fishes, many that you will never find anywhere else. Above the ground, small but soaring islands invite you to climb their peaks, while in between your excursions the friendly locals or your crew will have fun with you. Interestingly, the area is actually much more popular with foreign tourists who seek adrenaline and natural tranquility, rather than domestic ones.
Politically, Raja Ampat is a district whose capital is Waisai on Waigeo Island. This town is the starting point for exploration in the area, as it contains the district’s airport and seaport.
Access : Coordinates : -0.2333324 130.5166646 / By plane : The nearest major airport is Dominique Edward Osok Airport(SOQ IATA) in the mainland at the city of Sorong. There are direct flights from Jakarta, Makassar and Manado, all of which are transfer points for international flights. Multiple daily flights also come from Jayapura, the largest city in the Papua province. Wings Air also flies from 1 Waisai’s airport to 2 Sorong’s airport daily 10:20 and from Waisai’s airport to Manado daily at 3:05pm.
By boat : There are daily ferry sailings between 3 Sorong’s harbor ferry port and 4 Waisai’s harbor in Raja Ampat. Two types of ferries, an express or slow ferry, will get you there in 2 and 4 hours, respectively. As delays may sometimes occur, allow at least 2 hours to connect between the seaport and the airport. Tickets for both sailings can be bought at the wharf and the tourism office.
From Sorong to Waisai, daily ferries depart at 09:00 and 14:00 (Monday to Sunday). From Waisai to Sorong, ferries depart daily (except Saturday) at 09:00 and 14:00. On Saturdays the Waisai to Sorong operates at 09:00 and 12:00. Ferries do not operate on Indonesian public holidays. The journey time is about 2 hours. Ticket prices are Rp120,000 for economy class and Rp240,000 for VIP. Speedboats can also be rented at a wharf about 200 meters west of the ferry terminal. While it’s expensive and less comfortable than a ferry, it can get you there faster.
From Sorong to 5 Fatiga’s harbor on the island of Misoul, K.M. Fajar Indah goes from Sorong to Misool on Fridays 23:00 and from Misool to Sorong on Saturdays 13:00. K.M. Fajar Baru goes from Sorong to Misool on Mondays 23:00 and from Misool to Sorong on Thursdays 09:00.
Attractions : Diving : Raja Ampat is a diver’s mecca! Travellers from around the world spend time entering this area of Indonesia to explore what nature has to offer. Millions of fishes and reefs are under the blue waters, many species that you cannot find anywhere else.
One of the most prominent dive sites is near the 1 Arborek’s village (Dive with manta Rays). edit where manta Rays are available in abundance.
2 Kampung Yenbuba. edit. Dive with sharks and bump fishes.
3 Cap Kri.
4 Yeben Shallow.
Non-diving : If you are not diving, you can still have fun! Walk the island, visit the villages, admire the nature, or snorkel and see the natural wonders!
5 Pianemo (Pianemo), Fam Besar island (usually about 1.5 to 2 hours from Waisai by speedboat). Viewpoint for the karst landforms heritage site of Pianemo.
6 Wayag (Wayag), Wayag Island (usually about 3.5 to 4 hours from Waisai by speedboat, about 5h from Sorong). the Icon of Raja Ampat with an amazing landscape.
Activities : The Raja Ampat islands are a truly natural phenomenon with enormous biological diversity. The amazing marine landscape means that underwater photography should be on the top your list during your stay. However with Raja Ampat’s natural conditions, high endemic level of land, sea biodiversity, coastal ecology, and local culture & tradition the islands offer more than just amazing landscapes to photograph.
So you may also consider:
Exploring the islands by boat
Visiting the Red Bird of Paradise
Buying handicrafts(noken string bags) from Arborek Village.
Enjoying the Karst islands around Wayag Island
Exploring the bat caves (literally, not the Dark Knight variety)
Make your own wood sculpture guided by an Asmat artisan
Fishing using traditional Papuan techniques
Trekking to discover waterfalls
Watching The Sea Ghost
Raja Ampat Festival